A police tsar has been told shoplifting has been slashed by 48 per cent in Bangor after repeat offenders were banned from the city centre.
North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Winston Roddick heard Criminal Behaviour Orders (CBO) were working “brilliant” in keeping thieves out.
The news was revealed during a walkabout by Mr Roddick and his deputy, Julian Sandham, with Inspector Brian Kearney, North Wales Police’s divisional inspector for the Gwynedd north area.
Mr Roddick said: “Criminal Banning Orders are an excellent way of deterring and preventing thieves and those who behave in an anti-social manner once they have been identified.
“Bangor’s excellent CCTV system, which is monitored 24/7, means when offenders commit offences cameras are turned on them within seconds.
“We are also fortunate staff from retail premises work closely with the police so offenders are identified and dealt with swiftly. I believe the use of CBO’s is an excellent and proactive way of reducing crime and ensuring retail staff are protected and helped to feel safe.
“CCTV is essential if we are to reassure retail staff and is an important and vital tool in the arsenal of the police. The system is clearly working exceptionally well and Bangor is clearly a place where crime is being reduced.”
According to Inspector Kearney, they were deliberately targeting prolific offenders.
He said: “One particular offender who came to live in Bangor and who was acting aggressively toward shop staff and was consistently attempting to steal goods, is the subject of a CBO.
“Officers and PCSOs took impact statements outlining the effect his behaviour was having on staff and we then applied to the courts for the CBO which effectively prevents him from entering the town centre or its stores. If he does try he is liable to arrest.
“CBOs are another tool in our arsenal and means we can prevent offenders who act aggressively toward retail staff from doing so.”
Peter Gaffey, North Wales Police’s dedicated anti-social behaviour officer, told Mr Roddick and Sandham they used the network of CCTV cameras and radio link system to stay one step ahead of offenders in Bangor.
He said: “The offenders and shop staff know that, as soon as retailers touch the incident button on their radio link devices, then the CCTV cameras instantly turn to them. In effect it means we have a police officer on every street corner.”
“We have enjoyed similar success in Holyhead where one offender was targeted after he was abusing shop staff and was very often drunk. A CBO was applied for and granted by the courts.
“This was an offender who we can say was responsible for 15 per cent of public order incidents in Holyhead town centre over the period of a year”.
Jeanne Molyneux, administration officer for Bangor and Caernarfon Business Against Crime (BACBAL), said: “I sit in the middle between the traders and the police. We hold regular meetings to report what has been going on and exchange intelligence.
“It means prolific offenders can be banned from all shops in the scheme right across Bangor and Caernarfon. If they breach the CBO they can be arrested and the ban extended. In truth most get the message.”
She added: “CCTV is extremely important and pressing the incident button on the radio is often faster than calling the police direct.”
Lyndsey Hughes, assistant manager of Bangor’s Accessorize store, said: “CCTV and the radio link are so important. We know as soon as we press the radio button the cameras are turned to us and are recording what is going on.
“The relationship between ourselves and the police is very positive and we meet every few weeks which is really important and reassuring. It means we can be made aware of the latest trends and learn about the most active offenders and what we can do to stop them.”